rice has never been so fun


My younger children love playing with this. What is it?

A plastic tub, colored rice, and assorted plastic bottles, measuring cups, funnels, whatever is laying around. It is a great tactile activity and facilitates sensory exploration. To use my big educational-eese words.

My toddler age children love running their fingers through the rice and pouring it from container to container. For the slightly older children, I like to give them containers of various sizes and ask them to hypothesize which container they think holds more… the tall skinny one, the short wide one, etc. And then have them test their theory.


I really like it because the dry rice is easy to clean up afterward. If you put down a plastic tablecloth underneath the children and the table you can scoop the rice up and back into the plastic tub.


13 Responses to “rice has never been so fun”

  1. Jeana Says:

    Do you buy the rice already colored or color it yourself? And if you color it yourself, how?

  2. Shelly Says:

    We also took some little cars and trucks in our tub - we have one of those under the bed plastic storage bins - it’s kind of like a little quarry!

  3. Maliavale Says:

    That reminds me of montessori school. Ah, fond memories of pouring dry beans back and forth and back and forth.

  4. Kim Says:

    Rice is SO much fun! I remember my very first day of kindergarten, we were all instructed to bring 4 bags of rice, and they were dumped into a giant bin, of sorts. There were little shovels and buckets and cups and all kinds of things available to play in the rice with. I could stand there and play all day. And to this day, when I’m making rice, the smell takes me back to the rice bin in Kindergarten.

  5. Mel Says:

    I had a big rice tub when my twins were about 2 or 3. Their favorite thing to do was to throw that rice everywhere. They didn’t care about pouring or shoveling, just tossing.

    The sick thing is that I let them because it bought me a moment. I paid for it later with endless vacuuming.

  6. jody Says:

    That is a wonderful idea!

  7. christie Says:

    One thing (learned the hard way!) about rice as a tactile toy: DO NOT let it get wet. It will attract (ewwww) maggots. While creepy-crawlies in an outdoor trash bin aren’t the worst thing in the world, it’s still pretty gross when you have to take out the trash — and the situation is hard to resolve without a hard freeze.

    (Colored rice, esp if isopropyl alcohol is involved, may not cause this problem.)

    Beans = better, in my opinion. (Found you via Parenthacks.)

  8. Angela Says:

    Rice is good for school aged kids too. I pour a bit of it onto a cookie sheet and my 3rd grader writes her spelling words in it. Preschool kids can practice writing lettters or numbers in a shallow pan of it as well.

  9. Rachel Says:

    Good idea! I have a plastic container of birdseed for my daughter to play with, using cups, spoons, etc.

  10. Alissa Says:

    i’ve done this with birdseed… but only outdoors. i hate mess in my house and inevitably, these birdseed that has escaped the tablecloth.

  11. veronica Says:

    I love this project and actually did it this week. It took us one afternoon to color the 25 pounds of rice and my kiddos could not wait to get up the next morning to play with it.
    This has provided many quiet moments for me, so I owe you a huge thank you!!
    Bonus: very easy to sweep up!

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